What I Ate Wednesday

Frankenpost: A Halloween Hybrid

I think Sandy started a trend.

Much as she combined tropical storm with nor’easter with hurricane with general sh*t storm, today’s post is a bit of a hybrid.  Not only is it WIAW but today also happens to be October Foodie Pen Pals Reveal Day.  Oh yeah, and it’s Halloween to boot.

There is some crazy a** sh*t goin’ on.  So, without further ado…

What I Ate Wednesday

…meet Foodie Pen Pals.

Let’s hear if for What I Ate Wednesday Foodie Pen Pals!

While it’s a little scary – though fitting – that this Frankenpost should occur on Halloween, the treats that I received from Jessie were anything but.  Jessie is a super cute, self-described “fitness nut” who blogs over at jessielovestorun.  She’s living in Kuwait right now with her husband which means that I lucked out in the Foodie Pen Pal department!  Just look at all the fantastic goodies she sent me.  🙂

Jessie didn’t send the pumpkin, it’s just photo-bombing this pic.

In her initial email to me, Jessie asked if I’d like to try some of the super spicy products ubiquitous to her local shops.  Um…yes, please!  And folks, I was SO not disappointed!

First to go – and to go so quickly that the bag didn’t even make the above photo – were these:

Beans, beans the magical fruit…well, you know the rest…

I served these delightfully spicy, “crispy-licious” bean chips with hummus at a get-together I had a couple of weekends ago.  Well, it wasn’t long before the four adults at this get-together were fighting over the crumbs left in the bottom of the bag.  In our gotta-get-more-Beanfields zeal, we may have even embarrassed ourselves in front of the 1-year-old that also attended our shin-dig.  Hey, maturity goes out the window when delicious food is involved.  Am I right or am I right?  🙂

I nearly peed my pants when I was opening Jessie’s package and discovered these lurking at the bottom:

I think they were scared of their impending demise because they were hiding in the depths of the Priority Mail Box.

OMG!  How did she know?!?!  I blow through about 10 packets of Justin’s peanut and almond butter every week.  Following the Beanfields, these pouches were next to bite the proverbial bullet.

I sent the Hot & Spicy Pringles with The Man to his weekly Sunday-Guys-Watching-Football-Afternoon but not before sampling a few myself.

Arabic is so pretty.

Whoa, boy!  Them chips is spicy!  But insanely delicious :).

I can’t wait to try the sesame rice cakes, curry sauce, and Very Hot Cajun Sauce – the latter of which I think would be amazing drizzled on a Roasted Vegetable Pizza that happens to be chillaxing in my freezer as we speak – tonight’s dinner, perhaps?

The foodie surprises that Jessie so kindly sent my way are all amazing but my favorite parts of her package were the cute little notes she put on each item:

She also has insanely neat handwriting, wouldn’t ya say?

Super thoughtful and adds that little something extra.  I might be stealing this idea for future Foodie Pen Pal packages of my own.  🙂

More of Jessie’s insanely neat handwriting. I may be able to steal her ideas but my chicken scratch will never be this visually appealing.

Jessie, thank you so much for all of the wonderful goodies – they were the perfect subjects for this What I Ate Wednesday Foodie Pen Pals Frankenpost!

Here’s the Foodie Pen Pal info if you want to jump on the bandwagon and be sure to check out WIAW too!

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal! 
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. 
-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. 

If you’re interested in participating for November, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.

You must submit your information by November 4th as pairings will be emailed on November 5th!

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Categories: Foodie Pen Pals, Nut Butter, What I Ate Wednesday | 15 Comments

Easy Pleasy

I love to entertain.  All forms of entertaining – cocktail parties, snack-y and drink-y get-togethers, dinner parties, the ol’ song and dance…

Let me entertain you…

I love it all.  I love it even more when I save myself some time and effort and make things easy.

Um…alright…given the above picture, I understand how you might misinterpret the above statement.  Keep it clean people.  I was talking about recipes, easy recipes.  Recipes that are a cinch to prep and execute and leave me more time to entertain my guests.  And I’ve got two of ’em to share with you right now cause it’s time for another addition of…

What I Ate Wednesday Easy Dinner Party!

This past Saturday night The Man and I had his sister and her boyfriend over for dinner.  This was the first time I met Sister and BF so I was a tad bit nervous…to say the least.  Not only did I have to wow them with my sparkling personality (and hope that they accepted my innate nuttiness), I also had to razzle dazzle them with my culinary prowess.

Easy recipes were most defintely called for.

For dinner I fell back on a tried and true salmon dish that has served me quite well over the years.  The original idea came from a family that I used to nanny for and it’s such an easy dinner to throw together that I almost feel “recipe” is too strong a word – it’s more of a “recip-ease.”  Yes, I just now invented that word.  OOO, I like it.  I shall add it to my lexicon.

Maple-Orange Salmon

Salmon

Orange Juice

Maple Syrup

Notice there are no measurements listed.  This is why: you use however much salmon you need given the number of people you’re cooking for (1/2 lb. per person is the standard).  You place the salmon in an appropriately sized baking dish and then you glug on the orange juice and maple syrup.  Just eye-ball it.  You want enough in there that the salmon is taking a nice little bath but you don’t want to drown the poor fish.  I usually do equal amounts of orange juice and maple syrup but you should adjust according to your taste.  I’ve used various different brands over the years but this time I used this juice…

I do not enjoy pulp.

…and this syrup.

A purchase from The Big E.

After you douse the fish, pop it back in the fridge and let it marinate for about 20 minutes to a half hour – you don’t want to let it go too much longer than that cause the orange juice will start to “cook” the fish (a la ceviche) and make it too dry/tough.  Then you just wing that pan into the oven (at 350-ish degrees) and bake it according to how big/how much fish ya got.  Et voila.  Easy.  Delicious.

The Man and I paired the salmon with a garden salad and Israeli couscous (mixed with sauteed red onions, baked-sauteed sugar pumpkin, and bouquet garni) and dinner was done.  I think they liked it.  Also, I forgot to take pictures.  Now it is gone.  Ah, well, moving on…

Dessert was a bit more of a challenge for a couple of reasons.  Not only is BF on a low-carb diet but I also wanted to try to accomodate my no-sugar thang.  I did a quick google search for low-carb, low-sugar dessert recipes and came up with this which I further tweaked to come up with this:

Low-Guilt Peanut Butter Cookies (I know, not a creative title but the best I could come up with at the mome…)

1 cup peanut butter, such as…

Don’t worry, this is the non-recalled one.

1/2 cup Truvia (or 1 cup Splenda or regular granulated sugar)

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

Trader Joe’s Organic Maple Sugar for rolling

Just mix the peanut butter, Truvia, egg, and vanilla together (seems unlikely but it will form a dough).  Roll into balls.  Roll those balls in some maple sugar.  Place on a cookie sheet and press balls down with a fork (to make a cross-hatch pattern).  Then bake those babies at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.  Et voila…again.  Easy.  Delicious.

Alas, I didn’t have a photo shoot for these cookies, either.  I was distracted that night, folks.  But I do have this somewhat fuzzy photo with the cookies lurking behind various beverages:

The remainder of the cookies on that plate were gone by the end of the night.

All in all, a successful evening.  Good company (I hope they thought the same of me) and good, easy food.  Sometimes simpler is better.  🙂

Yes, that is my beer. I drank beer. I like Blue Moon. Can you believe it? Who am I?

What did you eat Wednesday?

Categories: Cookies, Nut Butter, Trader Joe's, What I Ate Wednesday | 10 Comments

I’ve Fallen…

…into such a habit…

…that, even though Jenn and many other WIAW followers have moved on, I’m still stuck in the above series.

**My lateness to the new WIAW party might also have something to do with my recent absence from the blog world.  I apologize profusely, my darlings.  Life has gotten in the way the last couple of weeks but I am now officially back in the game blog!  Careful there, don’t fall all over yourselves with excitement.  I mean, I know it’s hard to rein in your joy at my return but we wouldn’t want you spilling your morning coffee all over the keyboard now, would we? :)**

Anywho, the aforementioned habit in question?  Cottage Cheese.

A small selection of the various brands that have been inhabiting my refrigerator shelves of late.

I blew through the tub of Cabot this past Friday – a little too watery and salty for my tastes but that didn’t stop me from eating the entire container in one sitting.  The Breakstone’s served as my Sunday night dinner and the container of Friendship was consumed over the course of two days – Monday and Tuesday nights’ dessert.  48 oz. of cottage cheese in four days.  That’s a lot of cottage cheese.

I’ve tried in vain to curb my enthusiasm…

Truth.

…for this delectable edible but it’s just not happening.  Even if I limit myself to purchasing just one tub on my weekly grocery run, chances are I’ll be making an atypical mid-week trip to the store for another 16 oz. of dairy delight.

This is not the first time I’ve had an obsession with a particular food.  I periodically go on these food jags where I am consumed by – or, more accurately, I consume – a certain food for an extended period of time.  These jags are not your everyday, run-of-the-mill binges.  They’re not a case of an “oh-my-god-I-cannot-stop-eating-this-bag-of-Chex-Mix-someone-please-take-it-away-from-me-or-it’ll-be-gone-in-zero-point-two-seconds-oops-too-late-I-already-ate-the-whole-thing-but-I-won’t-want-Chex-Mix-now-for-another-few-months” situation.  No, my jags last for weeks, if not months, people.  During this time, I simply cannot get enough of whatever food I happen to be obsessed with.  Roasted vegetables (no specific veggies or roasting method – just roasted veg in general), mangoes, roasted and salted mixed nuts, raisins – they’ve all been the subject of one of my jags.

Granted, most of my jags center on a somewhat healthy food – it’s not like I’m having a gustatory love affair with Craz-E Burgers – but too much of a good thing is still too much, right?  Probably.

Whelp, I will work valiantly to break myself of this cottage cheese habit but if I’m successful it’ll probably only mean that I’m on a new jag.  The ends of my jags are of biblical proportions in that the raisin jag begat the mixed nut jag begat the roasted vegetable jag begat the mango jag begat the cottage cheese jag.  If it’s not one fruit it’s a nut butter…but at least it’s not (and, hopefully, won’t ever be) a double bacon cheeseburger between two Krispy Kreme donuts.

Have you ever been on a food jag?

If so, how did you break yourself of the habit? – Come on, I need ideas, people!

What did you eat Wednesday?

Categories: Cottage Cheese, Uncategorized, What I Ate Wednesday | 2 Comments

I did it! I did it!

My darlings, I feel that I deserve a pat on the back. 

If you read last week’s WIAW post, you’ll know that I am on a personal journey to rid my diet of excess sugar.  Well, I’ve gotta say that this past week hasn’t been nearly as difficult as I anticipated.  I can do this.

But…

Monday, The Man and I went to The Big E.  In the days leading up to this adventure, I prepared myself for the certainty of failure.  I was certain my “No Sugar” mantra would die an extremely rapid and merciless death once I spied the bags of cotton candy the size of my body, make-your-own slushy stations, and barrels (yes, literally barrels – big ol’ barrels) of rot-your-teeth candy. 

Here’s the shocker: I.  Didn’t.  Cave.

What?  Yup.  Aside from the 5-ton bag of Kettle Corn that I (with little help from The Man) consummed in the span of time it takes a cheetah to run down a gazelle, I resisted temptation.

Now, this isn’t to say that I ate healthy that day – of course I didn’t, I was at the sixth largest agricultural fair in the U.S. – but at least what I did consumme wasn’t dusted with my own personal version of PCP.

So, here we go!  What I Ate Wednesday At The Big E!  **I will still use the “Fall into good habits” version of the WIAW logo cause of my above mentioned success**

Monday marked my first trip to The Big E since I was about 10-years-old and I had no idea what to expect.  I knew it’d be fun, I knew I’d eat a lot of yummy things, and I knew there were rides but other than that, I had no clue.  To say that I was pleasantly surprised would be an understatement.  This fair is the best thing since nut butter!

The Man had just been the week before so he already had a few items on his wish list, one of which was the stand that sells fried cheese curds.

Straight from WI?

The curds come battered and deep-fried with a side of marinara and aren’t half bad.  Not my favorite fried food of all time (and I gotta say I prefer my curds fresh so I get that satisfying squeak when I bite ’em) but worth a try.  They were sorta reminiscent of fried mozerella sticks – the curds are by-products of making cheddar cheese but they have a milder flavor than cheddar, hence the mozerella-y-ness – but with better, lighter breading.

Before diving into our next (and best) fair food, we stopped by the agricultural house were we saw some big a** pumpkins…

We dubbed this one “Jabba.”

…that sorta had the same characteristics as a morbidly obese human.

This one has gan-“green.”

Some beer was in order (to erase the image of fat, anthropomorphic pumpkins from my brain) so we headed over to the Shock Top booth were The Man got the Belgian White and I got the Raspberry Wheat.

The orange slices are a must have.

I like this beer, which means something coming from my wine-accostomed palate.  It’s super light and refreshing and just slightly fruity – it was the perfect beverage to pair with the best treat of the day…

Not to be confused with an Egg McMuffin.

…an Arepa!  I’ve never had one of these before but I hope the one we shared Monday will not be my last.  This cheesy, corn-cake concoction was to die for!

This arepa was not long for this world. We scarfed it.

The corn cakes were lightly crispy on the outside but soft and fluffy on the inside.  The cheese inside was perfectly melty and warm and it’s saltiness was the perfect balance to the sweet, corn-tasticness of the cakes.

Look at that cheesy goodness. Oh, man.

This nearly blew my mind.  Words cannot describe the deliciousness.  You must try one at least once in your life.

We filled time between snacks with shopping (loads of vendors – crafts, hot tubs, blenders, mattresses, you name it…), people-watching, rides down the Big Yellow Slide, posing for embarassing photos, and cow-cuddling…

These girls were super nice. That cow I’m petting belonged to the one on the left.

…that seriously made my day…

The girl is smiling but her eyes say “You be careful how you cuddle my cow…”

…cause who doesn’t love to cuddle a cow?

Yeah, I was excited.

All that cuddling made me thirsty – hey it was a pretty intense roll-in-hay 😉 – so we headed over to the Hofbrau booth to get a pint of Dunkel.

Handsome beer in a plastic cup.

A little dark for me but tasty in small doses – it was also the perfect match for the corned beef, saurkraut, and cheese fritters that we got at the same stand.

Our next, and I have to say most surprising, stop of the day was at the Wine & Cheese Shop.  Who woulda thought that The Big E would put on a pretty good wine tasting?  We sampled the delighful Cayuga White and Red Hen Red from Mineral Hills Winery

Bottle of red…bottle of white…

…as well as the pleasingly sweet and uniquely cloudy (due to the high concentration of concord grapes) Sand Castle from Zoll Cellars.

Love the summer-y labels.

To cap off the day we decided to get a platter of fried veggies that The Man had tried, and thoroughly enjoyed, the week before.  In retrospect we should probably have skipped this part.  Things started well, we ordered our platter from the kind veggie-daddy and waited with anticipation for the battered and fried congregation of cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, onions, and mushrooms.  After a few moments, our veggies were ready and we retired with them to the back of the truck where the kind veggie-people had set up a few tables.  Thank goodness we were hidden from the main thoroughfare by an enormous food truck because what transpired next was not pretty.

The Man kindly warned me that the veggies were pipin’ hot but in my zeal I just couldn’t wait.  I chose a zucchini to start and found it to be warm but not unbearably hot – it’s thinness aided in it cooling faster than some of the other veggie choices.  Relishing the delicious success of my zucchini experience, I opted next for a mushroom.  Folks, I love mushrooms, so I popped that whole thing right in my mouth.  Well, it was hot.  Hotter than hot.  It had not cooled yet to zucchini temperatures, probably due to its increased volume. 

Rather than remove it from my mouth until it was more palatable, I tried to employ the “wave-my-hand-in-front-of-my-mouth-while-making-an-“O”-shape-with-my-lips” cooling technique…with disappointing results.  It was around this time that The Man got up from our table to go get some more ketchup…from around the corner…out of eye-sight.  Thank goodness for small blessings because it was then that I, very unattractively, started to choke.  Legit choke.  This was for reals.  I almost needed the Heimlich.  A small Asian man at the next table took a moment to glance up from his platter and calmy ask “You okay?”  I proceeded to make some uncomfortable inhaling noises in response, which he must have took to mean I was fine cause he went right back to devoting his attention to his half-finished platter of veggies.  This was fine, however, because it was not long after when I coughed up and spit out the offending mushroom, had a few sips of beer, and commenced laughing hysterically at my ordeal – all in perfect timing for The Man’s return.

Needless to say, the veggies did not get a photo.  They are not deserving.  They are not my friends.

And that,my dears, is What I Ate and Drank at The Big E: refreshing beers, delicious curds and fritters, a heavenly arepa, unexpected wines, and a mushroom that almost killed me.  Oh yeah, and that bag of kettle corn…but my time spent with that treat is a relationship better left undiscussed.  🙂

What are your favorite fair foods?

Have you ever choked in public…or in the privacy of your own home?

What did you eat Wednesday?

Categories: Uncategorized, What I Ate Wednesday | 8 Comments

Goodbye Sweet Friend

I’m doin’ it.  I’m saying farewell to a constant companion.  A companion that has provided succor in times of need but that I know deep down is not good for me.  Of what companion do I speak?

Sugar.

Yes, my dears, I’m giving up sugar.  I’m bidding adieu to sweet, saccharine splendor.  Saying sayonara to delectable, comestible confections.  Kickin’ candy to the curb.

At least this is my plan.  How successful I will be remains to be seen, but I have high hopes.  According to WIAW, this is the time to “fall” into good habits – no better time than the present – so here I go.

Of course, I have known for quite sometime how bad refined sugar is for overall health but this hasn’t stopped me from satisfying my insatiable sweet tooth on a daily basis.  To be fair, because I live a relatively healthy lifestyle, I don’t have to worry that my sugar consumption is gonna end up killing me tomorrow but I could probably benefit from a reduction.  Therefore, I will focus on cutting out the overt culprits – candy, frosting, maybe even the occasional pint of Arctic Zero – but not stress too much about hidden sources – salad dressing/condiments, yogurt…ahem…wine. 

So, goodbye, Gummies.

Okay, I can do this…

Cheerio, Caramels.

Gah! This is hard…

May we one day meet again, Marshmallows.

What the h*ll am I thinking?!?!?!?!

I can’t promise that I won’t fall off the wagon – that I won’t heed the siren song of sweet temptation every once in a while – but this post marks an end to my daily 11:00am raid of the candy dish.  Instead, I will reach for these…

Okay, I admit, these do have added sugar but I think this qualifies as one of those “hidden sources”…no?

…and these…

I’d eat these even if I wasn’t using them as a candy substitute.

…and bask in the antioxidants and fiber that they provide.  Candy cannot compete.  But, man, it sure does taste good…  Deep breaths…  I will stay strong.  🙂

Have you ever tried to give up a food you crave?

What did you eat Wednesday?

Categories: Candy, Sweet Tooth, What I Ate Wednesday | 5 Comments

I’m a Consume-ah…

…but I don’t have a tume-ah!

I must have a subconscious “thing” for Arnie…this is the second time I’ve referenced him…hmm…

It’s time for another What I Ate Wednesday, folks!

In snapping photos for this week’s edition, I realized that I was takin’ pictures of lots of products.  Rather than pretending that I cook every single night from unprocessed, fresh ingredients, I decided to just “go with it” and introduce you all to the pre-packaged products that I love.  Don’t you worry, I still ate plenty of fruit and veg but those can be the subject of another post because today’s topic is WIAW: Shameless Product Placement!

My morning coffee usually comes from a bag of pre-ground Starbucks Sumatra or DDs French Vanilla or something cheap and flavored from Ocean State Job Lot or a mix of the above.  Lately, though, I’ve been relishing this blend from Trader Joe’s:

Fall has fallen…into my kitchen.

Deliciously spicy and aromatic, it’s a great way to start a crisp fall morning and goes very well with my current nut butter of choice from Target:

The prominently featured expiration date sorta screws up the photogenic quality of the tub…ah, well.

My daily snack attacks are usually satisfied by one of these from Whole Foods:

Top-notch snack stash.

I’ve already posted about my love of Primal Jerky and Biena Roasted Chick Peas but they bear re-mentioning cause they are that good. 

I’ve been trying to be better about my sugar consumption lately and I have cut back quite a bit but there is no resisting an individually wrapped Halloween Peep:

He has no idea he’s this close to losing that pretty little head of his.

When lunchtime hits, I reach for my go-to yogurt.  I’ve been wanting to try Dannon Light & Fit Greek Yogurt since reading about it on Caitlin’s blog but I wasn’t able to find it until last week.  My local grocery store finally wised up and started carrying it:

When I was little I used to call strawberries “strawbalooboos.”

I really enjoy this but don’t forget that I’m a sweet-a-holic.  It tastes just like the regular Dannon Light & Fit, just a little bit thicker.  If you’re going into one of these thinking that you’re about to enjoy a deliciously tangy greek yogurt, walk away cause it’ll probably be too sweet for you.

My daily dinner salad is traditionally accompanied by some form of protein.  Sometimes it’s an egg (hard-boiled, scrambled, poached –  I’m not picky), sometimes chicken or turkey, sometimes beans.  Last night, however, protein came in the form of these

Sorry for the glare but look at how the shiny spot is placed directly above the “Mo”…it’s almost like a little sun shining on the logo. Appropriate – though unintentional – no?

…and this:

Have you ever actually seen a laughing cow…like, for reals? Are cows even capable of laughing?

I also scooped up some delicious leftover watermelon salsa that I made for a party last weekend…

Watermelon, black beans, onion, jalapenos, etc. = YUM.

…with these perfect salsa scoopers:

Salty, crispy, and addictive.

I capped off the evening with my customary cinnamon-sprinkled cottage cheese – Hood is the best, by far: 

This stuff blows the competition outta the whey.

Even better when served in the mini-pint glass from Brew Fest:

I told you all I was gonna use it for this…didn’t believe me, huh?

That’s it, dear readers – the product wh*re’s version of What I Ate Wednesday. 🙂

What are your “go-to” pre-packaged foods?

What did you eat Wednesday?

Categories: Candy, Cottage Cheese, Nut Butter, protein, Sweet Tooth, Trader Joe's, What I Ate Wednesday, Whole Foods | 12 Comments

Poppin’ the Question

What question, pray tell, might that be?

“Do you prefer Margaret or ‘Satan’s Mistress?'” LOL.

Why, “What did I eat Wednesday Engagement Party?”, you sillies, that’s what ;).

Guys and gals, this party was so bangin’ that I just had to make it the topic of this weeks WIAW!  It was held in the backyard of the Bride-to-Be’s parent’s house but don’t be thinkin’ it was a backyard BBQ or anything like that.  No, the best way to describe this shin-dig is “Just so.”  The attention to detail was superb and the food was delicious.  It was apparent the amount of thought that went behind each and every component. 

From the signature pink margaritas served in lidded mason jars…

The jars were pretty but there was a whole lotta condensation going on, hence the napkins.

…with super cute twisty straws…

Actually, we stole those from the kids table. The adults had classy stripped paper straws…but, you all know me, I’m much more “twisty” than I am “classy.”

…to the awesome Taco Pacifico food truck…

Someone else’s photo cause I was a bad blogger and forgot to take one of the truck.

…that offered simply scrumptious tacos, quesadillas, and burritos…

The remnants of our pork tacos. Those babies were a revelation of mexican deliciousness.

…to the unforgettable desserts…

Tart and Tangy Lemon Squares.

…of which I remembered…

Refreshing melt-in-your-mouth Key Lime Pie Bars.

…to take lots of photos…

Super decadent Oreo Truffles.

…of course – we do all remember that sweet tooth I’ve got, right? – …

Look how rich that is – million dollar chocolate bomb.

…this party was a true celebration.  The happy couple sure has started off their personal wedding season with a bang and it seems lots more good things are to come.  🙂

“Just so.” Right?

Been to any good parties lately?

What did you eat Wednesday?

Categories: Sweet Tooth, Uncategorized, What I Ate Wednesday | 8 Comments

I’ve got a secret…

I am super dupes excited, you guys! 

I bet you can’t guess why…

It’s not because today is another edition of What I Ate Wednesday

…though that is reason enough for excitement, in and of itself.

It’s not because when I was a house guest this past weekend I discovered some of the most glorious peanut butter ever lurking in the back of one of my host’s kitchen cabinets.

Yum-tastic peanut butter + cutie patooter plate + mini spatula = Happy Michelle.

Though this was particularly pleasing because when you are a house guest you can’t always rely on your host having exactly what you enjoy most in the world just hanging out in the back of one of their cabinets.

It’s not because when getting my fix of refined sugar for the day…

I’m loving this retro-fied Instagram treatment…along with the equally retro-fied design of the Stop & Shop marshmallow bag.

…I noticed this on the back of the bag:

Hmmm…

Not like this is something I’ve ever had cause to be concerned about.

Um. Hello. I didn’t hear you coming. Yeah. Want one?

It’s not because I enjoyed the same exact lunch that I’ve had every single work day for the past three years…

I don’t think I could ever be vegan cause dairy products are sorta like God’s gift…to me.

…though there is comfort in consistency.

And it’s not because I just discovered how delicious cottage cheese is when doused in cinnamon and eaten straight from the carton.

I know I’m late to the “Cinnamon on Cottage Cheese” Party. I like to think I’m fashionably late. Just look at that spoon for evidence – that spoon is fashionable.

No, dear readers, none of the items listed above is why I am so flippin’ excited.  Rather, I am elated over what I made for dinner last night.  In fact, I was so darn impressed with my skillz that I literally gave myself a little pat on the back after tasting my creation.  I even interrupted a text-versation I was having with a friend of mine – while simultaneously creating my masterpiece – to text-claim “O.M.G.  I am good!  This stuff is awesome!”

I bet you’re all waiting out there in cyberspace, glued to your desktops with bated breath, on tenterhooks for the revelation of my succulent stroke of culinary genius!

Well…this is where the secret mentioned in the title of this post comes in.  Call me an evil genius…

You get a prize if you know who this is.

…because I am going to make you all wait until tomorrow to find out what’s got me so pepped up.  However, I am not entirely insensitive, I will give you one hint as to the gloriousness that is coming your way:

Little ball of sunshine.

So, tune in tomorrow, ladies and gents.  Same time, same place.  Your taste buds will rejoice.  🙂

Categories: Candy, Cottage Cheese, Nut Butter, Sweet Tooth, What I Ate Wednesday | 6 Comments

Guilt-Free Girl Time

Alright, loyal readers.  You all have been so very patient and now the time has arrived.  The wait is finally over.  I will now reveal…

…What I Ate Girls’ Weekend!

However, before I delve into this WIAW post, there is something I feel compelled to tell you: I was a bad healthy living blogger this past weekend.  Not only did I totally drop the ball on the whole picture-taking thang, I also sort of failed to live up to healthy living standards.

Now, while forgetting to take pictures really was a crime – there was so much good food that you all won’t ever get to see – I will use the term “fail” very lightly when describing the latter shortcoming I have listed above.  It is true that I over did it in many respects this past weekend (too much sugar, too much alcohol, too much sittin’ around and soakin’ up the sun) but I would like to argue that that sort of occasional indulgence is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. 

I am one of the first to say that it is extraordinarily important for us to be conscious of what we put into our bodies and how much exercise we get.  However, to live a life of restriction and, gosh forbid, guilt is the furthest from healthy you can get.  Rather, on those occasions when one does go a little overboard…

Classic American Cinema.

…it is important to keep things in perspective.  When you watch it 80% of the time, the 20% that you “fail” shouldn’t weigh on your conscience.  Did you enjoy yourself?  Yes?  Are you ready to get back on the boat?  Yes?  Good.  Then you’re golden.  Go ahead, say it: “I am golden!”

These ladies always enjoyed themselves. Cheesecake, anyone?

And with that affirmation, let us dive in…

Girls’ Weekend was a bit of a revelation this year in that my gals and I discovered our mutual love of nut butters.

This is only a sampling of the nut butters we brought with us. Note: we were only away for three days. Overkill? Obsession? You decide.

The absolute best part of this nut butter overload was that Gal A (not to be confused with Gal C or Gal R – they will come into play later on) brought four jars of The Smart Kitchen Sarah’s Nutty Butter with her – Cookie Dough, Lemon Bar, Chai (Nut), and Oatmeal Raisin Cookie.  Guys and gals, I’ve been wanting to try Sarah’s Nutty Butter, in all of its various incarnations, for ages!  I was so excited that I screamed like a pre-teen at a Bieber concert when Gal A revealed her contribution to our stash.  I had read so many phenomenal reviews that I knew this stuff was going to blow my mind.  And, after tasting it for myself, I can confirm: this stuff is goo-OOO-oood.  Go click that link a few sentences up and buy some.

Needless to say, paired with Gal C’s delightful braided raisin bread, Nutty Butter was the star of breakfast every single morning of Girls’ Weekend.

Thank goodness I was able to take a couple of jars home. I’m not yet ready for this good thing to end.

There was a lot of various snacking throughout each day of Girls’ Weekend along with Nalgenes of iced coffee…

Bliss.

…because spending time with your Besties can be exhausting…in a good way of course. 🙂

We didn’t really focus on a lunch per se because the nibbles and caffeine were really just there to get us through to Happy Hour – my favorite time of day at any Girls’ Weekend.  Chex Mix is always a staple when us gals get together…

I always fish around for the “salty bits” – the ones covered in that addictive Chex seasoning – and Gal R always calls me on it.

…but Gal C went above and beyond this year with her home-made contributions.  We feasted on mushroom pate, ginger miso hummus, toasted baguettes with bacon chive cheese spread, and blueberry corn salad.  I probably don’t need to mention that there was also wine, champagne, and, of course, more Nutty Butter…

Oh you know I dug into that Nutty Butter with a spoon – who needs bread when Nutty Butter tastes like sparkles and sunshine?

At some point in the late afternoon/early evening Happy Hour morphed into Dinner Time and of course there were more drinks.  We enjoyed everything from wicked strong Rum Runners…

These drinks didn’t last long…nor did we once we finished them.

…to fancy-schmancy mixed drinks…

Asking me to remember the names of these drinks would be asking too much.

…to wine drunk out of plastic cups.

Oh yeah, this is how we roll. We classy.

Unfortunately, I do not have any photos of the amazing meals we enjoyed.  I will, however, say that if you’re ever on The Cape in the vicinity of P-Town/Truro/Wellfleet you must stop off at The Boatslip for amazing Rum Runners and the best Tea Dance you’ve ever been to, Bubala’s By the Bay for excellent fish dishes, and Moby Dick’s for delicious steamed lobstah and an unbeatable atmosphere (it’s BYOB – hence the wine in plastic cups).

Alas, it was a superbly fantastic time but Girls’ Weekend has officially ended and now it is time for me to get back on the boat.  Lemme put away the booze and bring on the cottage cheese and 10 mile runs!  I shall say, with much gusto and only a touch of facetiousness: “Until next year, All Aboard, my healthy living lifestyle!”

What did you eat Wednesday?

Categories: Friends, Nut Butter, What I Ate Wednesday | 8 Comments

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Truer words were never spoken, my dear readers.

I’ve spent the last couple of days feelin’ annoyingly shi**y.  Not in a funk but just ick-tastic enough that it’s put a damper on things.  If you read yesterday’s post, you’ll know that I’ve also not been able to squeeze in much physical activity during the past few days either.  Whelp, therein lies the source of the shi*…

Things started to turn around yesterday afternoon when I killed the Static Five-Minute Plank Challenge.  Feelin’ pretty impressed with myself, I then went for a run and that was all it took – the blues were gone, the slight sniffle that had been developing over the course of the day disappeared, and I slept better than I have in the last three nights.

All this only confirmed what I already suspected.  I’m addicted to running, guys and gals.  Just a couple of days sans run and I start to feel withdrawal symptoms.  I’ve been good about fitting in other kinds of exercise when I’m too busy to run and I’ve been really good about cross-training and building my upper body strength…

Those shoulders are coming along nicely, no?

…but nothing quite does it for me like a good ol’ run.  Exhaustion, sweat, endorphins, serenity.  Yup, running is the only drug I need – well except for the occasional glass (or two, or three…who am I kidding, sometimes I need the whole bottle) of wine.

I may be addicted, but it’s a healthy addiction and if it keeps me sane then fair enough, right? 

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

I can also apply this adage to the foods that I eat.  I’ve stuck to pretty much the same basic diet for the past eight years or so.  What can I say, people?  I’m a creature of habit.  Far from being boring, this routine cuisine has served me quite well – it’s nutritious enough to keep me energized and healthy while also offering enough “wiggle room” and indulgences to keep me happy.  Again, I must say…

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

So, my darlings, this week’s edition of What I Ate Wednesday shall be renamed What I Eat Always.

Mornings always start out with coffee.  Must.  Have.  Coffee.  Just one cup, mind you – and no caffeine after 10:00am – but I’ve gotta have that one cup.  Oh, and if you’ve ever lived with me, you know that you probably shouldn’t talk to me before I’ve had that cup.  Fair warning…

Say hello to my little friend.

Breakfast typically starts with fruit – an orange, a peach, some grapes, a pear – I’m not picky.

Little friend #2.

There’s only one fruit that has not ever made an appearance in my breakfast – or any other part of my diet, for that matter: an avocado.  Ew.  They taste like how sweat smells.  And the texture?  **gag**  Don’t even get me started.

Anywho, breakfast continues with an english muffin or toast – there’s usually a variety of spreads involved, one of which is always a nut butter of some kind – …

Sometimes the nut butter doesn’t make it to the muffin…

…and a handful of vitamins.

Cocktail includes: multi, fish oil, B-complex, MSM, calcium, and a pro-biotic.

I haven’t hidden the fact that I have a sweet tooth – mid-morning usually involves some sort of candy.

I go for the classics.

Lunch is a relatively staid affair – not very exciting but it does the trick.

You know what they say about an apple a day?

Throughout the day there are many refillings of this…

Green is my favorite color.

…because we all know how important it is to stay hydrated.

On days I’m not enjoying a glass of vino, dinner is preceded and/or accompanied by a glass of seltzer mixed with one of these…

I told you I had a sweet tooth…

…and drunk out of this…

Ahhh…

Quick sidenote: The glass is from Nashoba Valley Winery – good wine, worth a visit.

Dinner is usually centered around a HUGE salad.

Big Bowl of Friends.

This one included iceberg, romaine, cherry tomatoes, celery, red onions, some olives, a crumbled up Morning Star Farms Garden Veggie Patty, and a generous dusting of nutritional yeast.

I keep my nooch in a tiny little tupperware – you know my love of tupperware.

With a random gathering of crackers on the side…

Yes, those are animal crackers – a lion and a bear, maybe? No, I am not five-years-old.

…and a cup o’ pudding or cottage cheese concoction – two slightly melt-y Pumped Up Strawberry Cheesecake Bites and a spoonful or two of Friendship Whipped Cottage Cheese – for dessert…

Doesn’t look like much but it tastes delightful. In other news: cute spoon, huh?

…dinner is complete…except for the mango that’ll come into play when I realize I want just a little something extra to tide me over till morning.  🙂

The lovely cashier at my local grocery store – who sees me nearly every week – once told me that I have a mango fetish. She is correct.

And that about does it.  A day in the life of Michelle’s belly.  🙂

Do you have a “standard” diet?

What foods are staples in your culinary repertoire?

Do you have a particular form of exercise that you just can’t do without?

Categories: Candy, Cottage Cheese, Nut Butter, Runner's High, Running, Salad, Sweet Tooth, What I Ate Wednesday | 7 Comments

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